As an off-line carrier Finnair intrinsically has less exposure than competing on-line airlines operating to Australia. However, a renewed sales push by the airline in this market together with a new business class offering make Finnair’s Helsinki hub an option seriously worth considering.
Finnair’s regional sales manager Geoff Stone told Australian Aviation: “One of the advantages we have is geography: when you’re coming from Asia to Europe, the first country you fly across in Europe is Finland,” Stone said. “Geographically-speaking, nobody can beat us.”
Helsinki offers a fast 35-minute minimum connecting time between international flights – among the shortest connections times in Europe.
oneworld alliance member Finnair flies to 13 Asian destinations and has codeshare arrangements from Australia with Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways via Hong Kong and Singapore with 77 code share services a week to Helsinki, and then onward to over 50 destinations in Europe.
Reinforcing its position as a leading longhaul carrier, Finnair is installing lie-flat sleeper seats aboard its 15 A330 and A340 fleet beginning January 2014, a product consistent with that to be offered on its A350s due for introduction in 2015.
The new product and the award-winning efficiency of Helsinki’s Vantaa airport will help Stone meet his objective to double corporate passenger numbers in the next 2 years. Already business class uplift has increased up to 30 per cent in difficult trading conditions and without a significant increase in capacity.
“We are looking forward to another successful year in 2013. With continued efforts from our passionate sales team I know we can achieve our goals” says Stone.
“Finnair will become the first European airline to fly the A350 and we intend to use the aircraft to double our revenue from Asian destinations by 2020”, Stone added.
The cabin upgrade investment is worth around EUR29 million and will offer a fully-flat bed up to 200cm long and with shoulder room of 58cm. The upgraded seats will accompany a revised inflight service offering including new meal choices in both cabins.